DON’T GET ME STARTED on Cucurbita, the genus that includes pumpkins and squash and some of the gourds. No group of plants is more beloved. But rather than digress into a thousand-word rant here, let me just say this: nest egg. Cucurbita pepo var. ovifera is the ‘Nest Egg’ gourd, producing white-skinned fruits a bit larger than a hen’s egg. Their skin develops wonderful mottled patterns as they age, and many bowls (and windowsills!) full of them from over the years live with me happily ever after, never failing to elicit questions, or caresses, from visitors.
Categoriesannuals & perennials vines
January 28, 2015
pick of the crazy cucurbits, with ken greene of seed library
SOMEONE GIFTED ME a fresh-picked cucuzzi last September, a smooth-skinned, edible apple-green gourd shaped vaguely like a baseball bat. Where I grew up in Queens,..
September 18, 2008
longtime companions: good-keeper squash
IF YOU WANT COMPANY FOR A DAY OR WEEK, grow a zucchini. If you want company for a year or longer, grow a “good keeper”..
This nest egg gourd dries and weathers, aging all winter to the most serene amber and bark-colored spots. We have them balanced (instead of candles) in several candelabras, lining the window sills, and generally popping up in the most unexpected places indoor. Last year they also popped up in unexpected places out-of-doors when the vine crept along the garden floor, climbed the 7′ deer fence, and lept across to lodge high in a sour cherry tree. Neighbors kept stopping by to see what looked like large eggs hanging in the brances. It was a marvel.
Welcome, Julia. I will have to do some homework; one thing I do is stagger planting so if I lose my early seeds/plants I still have a chance with ones planted two weeks later or so.
I too love cucurbita best of all, but they break my heart. Except for one or two years, I have always lost 99 percent of my crop to insects and disease, primarily wilt. I try to grow organically, so I rotate beds and keep the young plants covered with row covers as long as I can. This year I bought cucumber beetle lure, although I’m a little afraid to use it out of fear it will attract more than it distracts. What else can I do?
My son got one of these gourds last year and painted it. In June, he and a friend broke it to pieces with a hammer (10 and 11 year olds.) Imagine our surprise in mid-July when a plant started growing in the crack between our house and the patio. We now have a huge plant with 15-20 gourds on it. When can we pick them? Is there a certain size that they need to be? What to we do with them after they are picked? It sure has been fun watching it grow.
Welcome, Cathi. Love your story. Usually before hard frost is best, once the stem attaching the vine to the fruit starts to get hard and almost woody. Probably NOW. Give them a sheltered, sunny spot (if you can…like a porch overhang or drag them out in the sun by day and into the garage at night). They like a week of “curing” In a warm, sunny spot, but indoors is fine if the weather isn’t cooperating. Then just watch them change over time. Amazing. By the way, leaving the stem on each fruit will help them really cure well and last.
I have purchased some apple gourd seeds and I live in northeast alabama and this is my first time growing them so if anyone could tell me what month of the year I need to plant them I would be very grateful
Welcome, Sharon. I am going to send you looking at the site of the Alabama Gourd Society for your localized answer: http://www.alabamagourdsociety.org/ Generally speaking, squash and pumpkins and gourds are planted when the weather has settled and the soil is warm (for me that’s not until May sometime). These very long-season plants (requiring lots of days till harvest) may benefit from starting inside first for month or so, if you have a seed set-up with proper light, then transplanting into a full-sun location outdoors after all danger of frost is past. If you don’t know your final frost, date, look here: http://victoryseeds.com/frost/al.html Hope to see you soon again.
I’m having a hard time finding seeds for the nest egg gourds. Any suggestions?
You can purchase egg nest gourds at Loew’s , but I’m looking for more growing information, Is the egg nest gourd a vine or a bush? I’m not sure but I want to give them the right growing spot in my yard.
Hi, Kerry. ‘Nest Egg’ is a vine (at least when I grew it it was), so plant to give it support.
I have an egg gourd that was harvested last fall, and it just doesn’t want to dry out. It is still the same creamy white color that it was when I brought it into the house. Did I harvest it to soon?
Don’t worry yet, Robin. It may well still go hard and hollow. Keep it somewhere warm and dry and wait awhile longer.
I have an egg gourd that someone gave me from their harvest last year. it has dried out nicely and you can hear the seeds rattling inside. My question is, will those seeds germinate if I plant them, or are they useless to me?
Him Coleen. Yes, they should be alive….but unless you live in a frost-free zone year round you probably don’t want to plan to plant them till next spring, at the time you would other gourds, squash, cukes, etc.
are they edible???can’t seem to find it anywhere
Sometimes young gourds (before the shells get tough and hard) are eaten, but it depends which one and at what stage of development.
I have egg gourds growing on the lattice in front of my porch. The vines are doing ok. Some of the gourds are egg shaped, some round a little bigger than a golf ball, some are an elongated oval shape. Is this unusual?
Hi, Brenda. Don’t know what the name on the packet of seeds was or where you got it. Often gourds are sold as mixes … and maybe the packet you got is not all one variety, or not from a strain of the Nest Egg type of gourd that had been carefully selected for consistent size and shape.
Thanks Margaret. I’m making the best of it. They are starting to dry now. I’ve started to clean and decorate some. My favorite so far a Grinches. They’ve been a big hit.